Middle-European Great Bustard

The Great Bustard Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was concluded under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and became effective on 1 June 2001. It covers the Middle-European breeding and wintering populations of the Great Bustard and manages modern agriculture and landscape planning throughout its range in Central Europe in order to save the remaining individuals.

The European population of the Great Bustard is estimated to be between 42,113 and 51,815 individuals but there has been a rapid decline in much of Central and Eastern Europe. Without active protection measures, the species is doomed to disappear.

The remaining population is dispersed in several small populations. Its habitat is intensively used agricultural land and mixed extensive agricultural and pasture/fallow land. Conservation measures need to focus on active habitat management and on maintaining large, un-fragmented areas of non-intensive farming systems.

The original MOU area included Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Ukraine. The Third Meeting of the Signatories (Szarvas, April 2013) amended the MOU by extending the geographical range of the MOU to cover four additional Range States: Italy, Montenegro, the Russian Federation and Serbia.

The Action Plan

The MOU includes an Action Plan which was amended at the Third Meeting of the Signatories in Szarvas. It calls for cooperation among national authorities to promote the conservation of the species. It demands the strict protection of the species and the maintenance and restoration of its habitat. The Action Plan was updated during the Third MOU Signatory Meeting in 2013.


The MOU provides an intergovernmental framework for governments, scientists and other groups to monitor and coordinate ongoing conservation efforts. Activities under the MOU are described in the Secretariat's Overview Report typically provided at MOU Signatory meetings. Country level information is found in each country's national work programme and in the individual national reports submitted to the meeting.

Several grants from the European Union LIFE programme have helped fund Great Bustard protection efforts. Programmes are in place to protect breeding areas, provide feeding areas for wintering birds and minimize collisions between the birds and power lines. In several EU Member States, agro-environmental measures financed by the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund play an important role in encouraging farmers to maintain or adopt appropriate farming techniques.


Titresort descending Statut Status date CMS Party number Region
Albania MOU Signatory 2002 076 Europe
Austria MOU Signatory 2001 091 Europe
Bosnia and Herzegovina Range State 126 Europe
Bulgaria MOU Signatory 2001 061 Europe
Croatia MOU Signatory 2002 070 Europe
Czech Republic MOU Signatory 2008 044 Europe
Germany MOU Signatory 2002 016 Europe
Greece MOU Signatory 2001 062 Europe
Hungary MOU Signatory 2002 001 Europe
Italy Range State 001 Europe
Montenegro Range State 111 Europe
North Macedonia MOU Signatory 2000 064 Europe
Poland Range State 049 Europe
Republic of Moldova MOU Signatory 2000 073 Europe
Romania MOU Signatory 2000 053 Europe
Russian Federation Range State AM Europe
Serbia Range State 108 Europe
Slovakia MOU Signatory 2001 045 Europe
Slovenia Range State 057 Europe
Ukraine MOU Signatory 2002 063 Europe
Instrument nameMemorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of the Middle-European Population of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda)
TypeArticle IV(4)
DepositaryCMS Secretariat
SignatureSigned by 13 States and 4 Organizations (for details please scroll to 'others' and 'MoU Signatory')
In effectFirst day of the month following signature by the fifth Range State; open for signature indefinitely; effective for all other signatory States on the first day of the first month following the date on which they sign
Actually in effect01 June 2001
Website URLhttp://www.cms.int/great-bustard
OtherSigned also by 4 Organizations: CMS Secretariat (05.10.2000), BirdLife International (07.10.2000), IUCN - the World Conservation Union (07.10.2000) and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (10.10.2000)

Contenu lié